A store owner from Co. Monaghan has been ordered to pay back a $46 million loan from a Zurich bank.
Jim McConnon borrowed the money to build a shopping center in Castleblayney. The center is now only worth $1.4 to $2.8 million.
In court, Justice George Birmingham said that McConnon's lawyers had not made an arguable case to allow the matter to go any further. He granted permission for the bank to take steps to recover their money.
Birmingham said that the decision by Zurich Bank to advance McConnon the funds seemed extraordinary, bordering on bizarre. However, he said that it was not a question of a bank forcing funds on a reluctant or gullible borrower.
McConnon had spent $13.9 million before the Zurich bank had even entered on scene.
Birmingham also said that the fact that McConnon's usual bank, and other Irish banks, would not get involved should have indicated that the project was not free of risk. Because McConnon had proceeded in borrowing the money, the judge could see no reason that he would be absolved from the liability to repay.
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